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Florence Price: Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Philadelphia Orchestra - Yannick Nezet-Seguin is 2022 BBC Music Magazine nominee

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BBC Music Magazine - Freya Parr writes…..In the year of BBC Music Magazine’s 30th anniversary celebrations, the nominees for the 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards have been announced. Despite the challenges of the last year for the classical music industry, artists and labels have delivered top-class recordings.

Musicians and sound engineers have become more accustomed to the limitations of social distancing and have thrived under challenging recording conditions. Many of this year’s nominated recordings were captured under distancing restrictions or, in the case of married violin-and-piano duo Elena Urioste and Tom Poster, inspired by lockdown projects. The pair shared daily videos on their YouTube channels as part of their #UriPosteJukeBox project, creating a huge digital community and commissioning a smorgasbord of new works – many of which are heard on their new recording, nominated for this year’s Premiere Award. The Covid-19 pandemic also provided a recording opportunity for The English Concert and its director Harry Bicket, who have – our critic says – ‘gifted us the best-ever recording of Rodelinda’. Facing a cancelled concert production of the Handel opera, the ensemble decided to record in London instead with the same musicians, each two metres apart.

The blend and precision required in scores like this require incredible skill, something conductor Simon Rattle praised the London Symphony Orchestra for during its recording of Beethoven piano concertos with Krystian Zimerman, nominated in the Concerto category. ‘Sometimes it feels like blowing smoke signals over a mountain,’ he says. ‘But the effort almost suits [the music of] Beethoven. Struggle is part of the style. He is a composer who demands that everyone is straining every sinew, and who always asks more than you can give.’ The LSO appear twice in this year’s list of nominees: once under Rattle and again under their music director designate Antonio Pappano, who is due to take over from Rattle next year.

As well as the more familiar composers, this year’s list of nominations features several works by composers whose music rarely receive such outings. These range from Dutilleux and Price to Busoni and Coleridge-Taylor, whose music is celebrated in soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn’s debut recital disc. His best-known work The Song of Hiawatha has overshadowed the 80 opus numbers he had to his credit when he died in 1912, much of which remains unrecorded – until now. Dussek might have been a celebrated musical figure during the Classical era, but he has become unjustly neglected over the centuries. This is the first time his Messe Solemnelle has been captured on disc, performed by the Academy of Ancient Music for the first time since its composition over 200 years ago. The ensemble’s recording has been nominated for the Choral Award.

This year’s jury was chaired by BBC Music Magazine reviews editor Michael Beek, who was joined by critics Andrew McGregor, Berta Joncus, George Hall and Rebecca Franks. Together, they whittled down a longlist of 312 recordings to the final list of 27 nominees – with 17 record labels represented in the shortlist.

Voting closes at midnight on Monday 28 February. The 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards nominees includes; For Orchestral Award

Florence Price: Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Ne´zet-Se´guin - Deutsche Grammophon 486 2029

Florence Price came to prominence almost ninety years ago, having surmounted systemic barriers to the progress of African-Americans and women in classical music. Much of her music then fell into neglect, however, and has only recently been rediscovered. Among those championing her work today are The Philadelphia Orchestra and its Music Director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Their latest Deutsche Grammophon recording, Florence Price · Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3, will be released as an e-album on 24 September 2021, launching a planned series of recordings celebrating the achievements of the first African-American woman to have a work performed by a major American orchestra. The winners of this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Kings Place on Thursday 28 April. As well as the publicly voted categories, the magazine’s editorial team will announce the winners of its BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year and Recording of the Year.

Vote now in this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards at classical-music.com/awards.

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